New Mexico in the Spotlight—Gov. Bill Richardson announced last week that the State Investment Council would be pumping $9.2 million into two features film projects set to shoot in New Mexico in the coming months. A Night in Old Mexico is the story of an aging cowboy who takes his teenage grandson for an adventurous night in Old Mexico. The film will star Academy Award winner Robert Duval and will be directed by Taos resident/actor Dennis Hopper. The Experiment, meanwhile, is described as a teen horror movie that spoofs reality TV shows. The first film is budgeted at just under $12 million, $7.5 million of which will be provided by the state in the form of an interest-free loan. The second will be funded entirely by a $1.7 million loan. These are the fourth and fifth films to be financed by the State Investment Council. Both films are expected to begin shooting over the summer.
Fantasy-prone protagonist fuels quirky, cinema-obsessed debut
The first film produced under the auspices of indie film chain Madstone Theaters, Rhinoceros Eyes is an appealingly offbeat genre-buster that effectively commingles the last 10 years of independent film into one quirky package. With this low-key drama/comedy/fantasy/horror film, first-time Canadian writer/director Aaron Woodley has crafted a loving ode to outsiders that owes as much to Hollywood fantasist Tim Burton as it does to faux-Slavic animators The Brothers Quay.
MadCat Film Festival claws it way into Q-town
The MadCat Film Festival is a highly acclaimed international festival that exhibits independent and experimental films and videos from around the world. Nothing too unusual there. The thing that sets MadCat apart, however, is that all the filmmakers involved are women. For seven years, the Bay Area-based, female-focussed festival has been searching out inventive and original voices. The festival screens throughout the month of September at an assortment of San Francisco and Berkeley venues. The following winter and spring, the festival goes on tour, touching down at more than 20 museums, art houses, universities and microcinemas around the country.
Three's a Charm
Taos Film Festival of the Arts takes a shot in the dark
When the Taos Film Festival of the Arts debuts this Friday, May 7, in northern New Mexico, it will be the third film festival in the last two months to try and fill the gap left by the late, lamented Taos Talking Picture Film Festival. Following the Taos Picture Show and the Taos Vision Quest International Film Festival, both of which debuted last month, the Taos Film Festival of the Arts will host an ambitious 10-day, multi-venue screening of some 40 films. The films will all be screened digitally, and the screenings will take place at a mix of traditional and unusual venues—from auditoriums to theaters to galleries to public parks.
This is the End, My Friend
“Friends” No More
Have you ever had a friend announce that he or she was moving away to Seattle or someplace and find yourself blowing them off before they leave under some kind of misguided personal protection policy? Ah, she's a short-timer—I've got more important people to hang around with. If she's gonna run off and join all those flannel-wearing hipsters, why should I waste my time on her? Hey, I've got other pals—pals who are sticking around! Perhaps that's why I haven't paid very much attention to “Friends” for the last couple seasons. Perhaps I feel abandoned. Or perhaps the show just hasn't been all that funny for a couple seasons.
30 Days Until I'm Famous (VH1 7 p.m.) In this made-for-TV flick, a record company exec (Sean Patrick Flanery) bets he can turn a random plain Jane (Camille Guary, “American Family”) into a pop sensation in just 30 days. The network calls it a musical romantic comedy; I think of it as a frightening true-life story.
“Live by Request: Blondie” (A&E 7 p.m.) Long-time pop rockers Blondie show up at John Jay College to school some youngsters how pop music is done. This live, intereactive show will feature call-in requests from viewers.